Name: Jennifer Davidson
Location: Dublin, Ireland
How did you find out about Girls Gone Strong?
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
For me it means being strong in every aspect of my life, my health, my body, my mind. It also means being strong enough to be vulnerable too.
What do you do?
I’m a screenwriter for a TV series in Ireland
What else do you do?
When I’m not writing (which is as much a hobby as a job, I’m very lucky in that way) I love to travel, take photographs, read, and catch up with good friends.
How did you get introduced to strength training, and how long have you been training?
My introduction to strength training was through the Strongest You Coaching programme. So, I’ve been training since July 2015. Before then I was a confirmed gym-phobic. I mean, strength training and gyms in general were only for “fit” people, right?!
Your favorite lift:
Single leg RDLs! It was probably one of the first lifts Jen, our coach, got me to do. I remember the first couple of weeks I did it thinking I’d never get the hang of it. Nearly falling over a couple of times was definitely not one of my prouder gym moments. I was determined to not give up (my fitness history before last year was a catalogue of things I’d tried and never stuck with). Once I got the hang of it, it was a move I completely fell in love with.
Top three things you must have with you at the gym or in your gym bag:
- Headphones—a must for listening to my fave music while I work out. Signing out loud in the gym is acceptable, right?!
- Multiple hair bands—one is never enough!
- Water. Lots of water.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I prefer training alone. I’m naturally competitive, but not naturally sporty, so I always found that group fitness activities made me feel worse about myself because I spent so much time and energy comparing myself to everybody else. So, when I hit the gym, I go on my own and I don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. It’s good to carve out some time for myself in the day. However, this year I discovered a love of group classes again, and I started doing a weekly dance class with a group of amazing women. Now that’s one of the highlights of my week.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
I always used to think treats were food, or drink. Friday night wine and pizza, every week, because it was habit. It was routine. If I wanted to celebrate, if I was feeling down, you name it, there was a reason to eat carbs. I spent a lot of time over the past year unpacking those habits, and figuring out what I was actually looking for. These days a treat is more likely to be buying myself a bunch of flowers, reading a good book, treating myself to a manicure, something that’s an indulgence, not a guilt trip.
Your favorite quote:
“You do You.” This came up in our Strongest You Coaching and really struck a chord with me. I had spent so much time worrying about what other people would think, or say, that this little phrase was a revelation. I love the freedom it gives me.
Best compliment you’ve received lately:
The best compliment I received lately was being asked to do this spotlight. I mean, me? Seriously? I’m not exactly a poster girl for fitness (yet!)
But being asked to share my experiences, reminded me of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve achieved.
Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
A wonderful friend of mine recently took a part in a musical, and despite being convinced she can’t sing, she sang a solo (in hotpants—you had to be there). I am endlessly proud of her, and told her so.
Three words that best describe you:
Loud. Creative. Emotional.
Your favorite book:
Just one?! I am a book addict. If I had to pick my all-time favourite novel it would probably be Maggie O’Farrell’s After You’d Gone. Non-fiction-wise, the book that changed my life in the past year was recommended by our SYC coach, Jen: The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal. Read it. It was like a lightbulb going off for me.
Describe a typical day in your life, from waking up to bedtime:
As a writer I work from home, so my morning probably starts around 8am. I’ll get up, have breakfast (usually leftover dinner from the night before), switch on the radio, and open up my laptop. I’ll do a bit of admin, answer emails, check social media, and by 9am I’m ready to start writing. Depending on what stage I’m at with a script, I’ll usually work on my laptop until 11 and then print out some work to take to the local coffee shop with me. I love writing long hand, and it’s also good for my creativity to be somewhere where there are lots of other conversations going on. I’ll do that for about an hour, and then head back home before lunch to type up what I’ve written.
I cook lunch every day, usually a stir fry of some kind. If it’s a training day, I’ll head to the gym in the afternoon for an hour. If it’s not, I’ll take some time away from my desk to get in a good walk. Or if it’s raining (lets face it, there’s always a good chance of that here) I’ll stick on some music and dance around my sitting room.
Work-wise, I’ll try and move on to a different project in the afternoon. I’m usually juggling two or three different scripts, so it’s good to break up the work across the day. I’ll also check in with my script editors, get notes from them, have a conversation about where we’re going with storylines. If I don’t have a major deadline looming, I’ll usually wrap up between four and five. If I am under deadline pressure, then I’m at my desk for the rest of the evening. The hours can be long, but because it never actually feels like work, I never mind. Then once I’m finished I catch up on a bit of TV and do a little journal writing. I try to get to bed by 10 if I can, I’ll read for a little, or catch up on social media. I love watching snapchat videos, though I only ever lurk.
What inspires and motivates you?
I’m really lucky to be surrounded by some amazing, wonderful women in my life who inspire and motivate me daily.
But one of my biggest learning curves in the past year was to be my own motivation and inspiration. I’m doing this for me.
When did you join Strongest You Coaching? Why did you decide to join and what helped you make the decision to join?
I joined the Strongest You Coaching in July 2015. I was in a bad place that summer. I’d had a very tough year. My brother had suffered a serious accident, and I was doing a lot of caring and worrying about him, and our parents. I was insisting I was fine, but I knew I wasn’t coping. I was eating my way through my feelings and had put on about a stone and a half in weight. I’d always struggled with my weight but this just felt like a new low. I had been following GGS on Facebook for inspiration, and was curious when they announced the coaching. I downloaded the form, and then dismissed the idea. It was too expensive, too American, too difficult, any excuse you could think of, I had it. I read the website, and watched the videos so many times. But I kept thinking it wasn’t for me. I must have started to fill in the application about ten times. And then, something (I don’t know what) made me go back, take a chance and fill the form in. I am so glad I did.
What has been your biggest challenge in the Strongest You Coaching program?
My biggest challenge has been letting go of old habits, and realizing that there’s no quick fix. I still find myself some weeks falling into old patterns, but now I know I have the tools to recognize them, figure out why I’m doing what I’m doing, and get myself back on track.
What has been your biggest success in the Strongest You Coaching program?
My biggest success wasn’t actually physical. I mean, yeah, I can lift weights I never thought I would, and I can see my body changing, but it was the mental breakthrough I made that really made a difference. I had tried (and to my mind, failed) to lose weight countless times. Any diet you can think of, I had done it. I’d look at other friends who managed to lose weight, and I’d feel like a failure because I couldn’t.
I was probably about five months into our coaching programme when something clicked for me. I was enjoying going to the gym, I had completely changed my eating habits, but somehow I still felt like I was stuck. We were doing a lot of work on loving ourselves, on willpower and on deciphering what being kind to yourself actually meant. Jen recommended that we read The Willpower Instinct, and it was like it had been written for me. I started to understand why I had consistently sabotaged my efforts to get healthy in the past. It also helped me to stop being so hard on myself, to forgive myself for past mistakes and focus on what I could do now. Once I was able to unpack what was actually going on in my head when it came to my body, it all started to make sense.
What do you like best about the Strongest You Coaching community?
It’s such a supportive community of women, who all have their own unique experiences to share and who genuinely have each others backs on this journey.
What is the “BIG” goal you’d like to achieve by the end of Strongest You Coaching?
I’m still working on dropping my body fat (and mentally correcting myself every time I say losing weight) so that’s definitely part of my big goal, but more than that, my big goal is to get to a place where I’m happy in my body, to be confident about how I look, and to like myself in photographs. It’s a work in progress but I know I’m closer to that goal than I have ever been.
What is the habit you’re currently working on most?
I’ve had a bit of a chaotic month, so I’ve taken myself back to basics lately and am focusing on eating slowly and getting in daily movement (separate to my workouts) I found through trial and error that if I focus on these two habits, it’s so much easier to centre myself again.
How has Strongest You Coaching changed your life?
In every possible way. How I eat, and how I work out are completely different to how it all was last year. But also, how I feel about myself and my body has changed completely.
What would you tell a woman who’s nervous about joining Strongest You Coaching?
Just go for it. If you’re nervous, embrace your nerves and your vulnerability and just jump in. You won’t regret it. And participate 100% in the community aspect of it, the private online group is such an amazing tool, take advantage of it, and don’t hold back. If I can do it, anyone can.
Feeling inspired by Jennifer’s story?
In our Strongest You Coaching program, we help women just like you reach their health, physique, and mindset goals. Strongest You Coaching is about more than just training and nutrition. It’s about changing your self-talk and inner dialogue, learning to let fitness enhance your life instead of rule your life, and finally healing your relationship with food and your body, all with the help of your Girls Gone Strong Coach, and your fellow Strongest You Coaching group.
Strongest You Coaching is a 9-month online group coaching program that gives you tools to succeed and puts the power to make lasting changes in your hands. We teach you how to finally eat and exercise in a way that you love so you can sustain it forever.
Make sure you get on the pre-registration list here. These limited spots fill up quickly when we open up, and if you’re on the list, you’ll have the chance to register 24 hours before registration opens to the general public.